Australian Sara Carrigan, (Power Plate BIK), 22, today claimed victory in the opening round of the 2003 UCI Women’s Road Cycling World Cup raced along the picturesque Geelong Waterfront in Victoria. The Queensland cyclist pipped Katie Mactier (AUS / Victorian Institute of Sport), 27, after the Victorian prematurely raised her arms to celebrate, belatedly realising that Carrigan had raced through and with a last desperate lunge for the line claimed the win. Third place went to reigning German road champion, Judith ARNDT (GER / Team Nurnberger), 26.
The winner completed the 17 laps of the 7km course (119km total distance) in a time of 3hr10min05sec at an average speed of 37.56 km/h.
"It’s unbelievable! It’s my first World Cup win and it’s a very prestigious race. I’m so excited to win the first round of the nine race series raced here in Geelong in Australia," said Carrigan who paid tribute to team mate Katherine Bates, (AUS – Power Plate BIK), 20, who was with Carrigan and five others who broke away from the main field in the second lap of the race.
"It was a great help having Kate in the break because at the start of the race if I was there by myself without a team mate I would have had to pull equal turns," Carrigan explained. "But Kate was able to drive it for me while I could come through every now and then and save my legs for the finish and it really counted."
The leaders hovered in front with a leading margin of around one and a half minutes for most of the race with their team mates in the main field working hard to ruin any chase attempts by their rivals. With two laps to go however the margin had whittled to 30 seconds and the breakaway was under threat. The leaders responded and by the bell lap were more than two minutes ahead.
Bates was dropped from the leaders after putting all her energy into softening up Carrigan rivals ahead of the final sprint. "Even though Kate was not in the front finishing bunch it was because she put all her efforts into helping me," said a grateful Carrigan at the start.
Carrigan, who was named the Australian women’s road cyclist of the year in 2002 and is the Australian time trial champion of 2002 and 2003, was overcome with her win, the first for her new professional team. At the world titles in Belgium last year she was fourth in a four up sprint after she led out but today she didn’t make the same mistake racing up from behind to secure her first World Cup victory and the overall lead in the nine round series.
Meantime Mactier, the 2001 Australian road champion, next time plans to keep her hands on the handlebars until well past the line. "It churns in my guts and you know what?," said a very dejected Mactier. "I was kind of hoping that no one saw it. At the end of the day I’ll get over it because I’ve got a really big focus this year," she said. "I want to do well at the World Titles in Canada as I think the course will really suit me and I want to make the team."
Mactier, who this year will ride for the first time with the American based Saturn professional team, then has her sights set on gaining selection for the Athens Olympics. "This is just a tiny little step in a big, big plan," she said. "Okay I stuffed up today but I know I’ve got it within myself to be one of the better riders around."
Arndt was just happy to be able to give her team mate Madeline Lindberg (SWE – Team Nurnberger) a birthday present. "I was not the strongest today," said Arndt. "Sara and Kate were much better but I’m glad I got flowers for Madeline."
The Geelong World Cup was proudly supported by the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Geelong.
Women’s First Round World Cup Results
1. Sara Carrigan (AUS) – BIP: 3h 10’ 5”
2. Katie Mactier (AUS) – VIS: s.t.
3. Judith Arndt (GER) – NUR: s.t.
4. Melisa Holt (NZL) – NZL: s.t.
5. Kristin Armstrong (USA) – TMO: s.t.
6. Natalie Bates (AUS) – AIS: s.t.
7. Katherine Bates (AUS) – BIP: +44”
8. Petra Rossner (GER) – NUR: +2’ 12”
9. Rochelle Gilmore (AUS) - FRF-NSW: s.t.
10. Regina Schleicher (GER) – World: s.t.
11. Andrea Bosman (NED) – BIP: s.t.
12. Alexis Rhodes (AUS) – ACTAS: s.t.
13. Miho Oki (JPN) – Japan: s.t.
14. Alison Wright (AUS) – RRG: s.t.
15. Aenone Wood (AUS) – AIS: s.t.
16. Olivia Gollan (AUS) – AIS: s.t.
17. Amy Safe (AUS) – AIS: s.t.
18. Elizabeth Williams (AUS) – VIS: s.t.
19 Renee Fortunato (AUS) – FRF-NSW: s.t.
20. Margaret Hemsley (AUS) – NUR: s.t.
Thanks to Gennie Sheer of Sheer Rhetoric and media manager for Cycling Australia for the results and media report.